Finally, Peter says (1 Peter 5:8-9), “Be SELF-CONTROLLED and ALERT. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. RESIST HIM, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

James asks a question (3:13): “Who is wise and understanding among you?” Then he says, “Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done IN THE HUMILITY that comes form WISDOM.” He goes on: “If you harbor BITTER ENVY and SELFISH AMBITION in your HEARTS, do not BOAST about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, UNSPIRITUAL, of the devil. For where you have ENVY and SELFISH AMBITION, there you find DISORDER and every evil practice.” (James 3:13-16). “AS A MAN THINKETH IN HIS HEART, SO IS HE!!”

In modern terms, that’s saying that we cannot judge ourselves or our brother on the basis of OUTWARD appearances only; we need to know the truth of our own hearts. What are we thinking regarding our brother or our sister? We really need to KNOW what effect our thoughts have on our walk with the Lord. So, if we are having a bit of a struggle with our progress or lack of it, the first place to look is a REALISTIC look into our own thoughts and attitudes. “Am I being deceived by letting the devil into my innermost being to control my destiny in God?”

We really should measure where we are in God by the following verses by Paul in his letter to the Romans: (Romans 8:5-8) “Those who live according to the SINFUL NATURE have their MINDS SET on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the SPIRIT have their MINDS  SET  on what the SPIRIT desires. The MIND of sinful man is DEATH, but the MIND CONTROLLED by the Spirit is life and peace, because the SINFUL MIND is HOSTILE to God. It does not submit to God’s law, NOR CAN IT DO SO! Those controlled by the SINFUL NATURE cannot please God.”

One final fact we need to be aware of: our poor attitudes can infest the lives of those whom we love, even the Body of Christ or our family. In Malachi, God speaks His wrath against the priests, because they thought they could sacrifice wounded or poor animals and keep the best of the flock for themselves. GOD WAS ANGRY! He said, “And now this admonition is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not SET YOUR HEART to honor My name, I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not SET YOUR HEART to honor Me. Because of you I will rebuke your descendants!!” Let me encourage you: IF the purpose of your heart is SET to honor God, so will your work, your doing, your LIFE. Bring honor to His name!

-Jay Fesperman

From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 27, December 1982.